Blackwood eager to impress on NZ tour

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, October 31, 2020

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West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood is keen to improve on recent positive individual performances against England when the regional side faces New Zealand in two Test matches.

But the Jamaican, who turns 29 next month, is mindful that he will have to notch more triple-figure scores if he is to have greater match-winning impact.

“I had a decent England tour, so I just want to build on that and improve each tour that I go on. I got two half-centuries, so once I can convert those half- centuries into hundreds I think that will certainly put the team in better positions to win games,” Blackwood told the Jamaica Observer.

In 31 Test matches Blackwood has averaged a modest 30.84, with only one hundred to accompany 12 half-centuries.

On the summer tour of England — which West Indies lost 1-2 — Blackwood was the pick of the visiting team's meek batting resistance, averaging 35.16 in six innings, while scoring two half-centuries.

In the opening Test against the Englishmen, the diminutive player was the main batting hero as underdogs West Indies took a one-nil lead in the three-match series. His back-to-the-wall 95 in Southampton was central to the visitors getting to 200-6 for victory on a wearing pitch.

In the second match in Manchester he struck a second-innings 55, but West Indies slumped to defeat when a draw was very much on the cards.

And in the final Test, also contested in Manchester, the middle order batsman made 26 and 23 as England won handsomely to reclaim the Wisden Trophy.

Blackwood topped the runs chart in last season's domestic four-day championship with a tally of 768 in 15 innings.

His brave rearguard in England has only served to boost his confidence, despite the expectant challenge Down Under.

“I did a lot of work at Sabina Park with [franchise coaches] Andre Coley and Nikita Miller. I think right now I'm in a good space and a good frame of mind.

“I'm a batsman who prepares for anything when I walk out to bat, so it [the New Zealand challenge] is not going to faze me. I just want to go out there and do my best. Once everything is clicking for me and I'm in a good frame of mind I have no doubt that whatever New Zealand throw at me I'll do [well],” the attacking right-handed batsman told the Observer.

“Hopefully, we can do better [in New Zealand] than we did in England. My expectation is for the team to win the two games, or at least draw the series. If batsmen can score hundreds or even big half-centuries, the team will get good totals, so I just want to convert those starts to hundreds,” he reiterated.

West Indies squad members who are not currently playing in the Indian Premier League left for the tour in New Zealand earlier this week, which is to run from November 27 to December 15. West Indies are to battle the hosts in two Tests and three Twenty20 matches.

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